Going to Israel and Palestine was very enlightening for me.  It was great to tour old Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the Sea of Galilee.  To walk the same path that Jesus once walked, is an honor and a privilege that most people who grew up like me will never get the opportunity to experience.  While longing for a spiritual experience, what most impacted my time in Israel was the religious and ethnic strife that plagues this once Holy Land (there was a religious killing the day prior to my arrival in Jerusalem and a shooting in which ten were shot randomly not far from my hotel just after my departure back to the states) Even though a different conflict, I find it very similar to the problems plaguing the United States of America and more specifically my hometown Chicago, IL which some people refer to as Chiraq and deservingly so (lost a friend this year due to gun violence).  From such great tension going on in both places, I realized that the problem is not money, land, resources, or a broken political system.  The main culprit is the heart.  Instead of promoting peace, love, and goodwill toward man, the people that are in leadership promote fear, anger, and isolation based on class, religion, and ethnicity.  We are taught to hate our brother, and the elite use this manufactured hate to divide and conquer. (more…)

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